What is a paralegal?
A paralegal is a lot like a nurse – we assist attorneys in the key functions of their jobs, just like nurses assist doctors. Typical job duties include drafting legal documents, calendaring deadlines, preparing for trials, conducting legal research, and interfacing with clients. We are highly skilled experts in our fields who work tirelessly to serve our firms’ clients. A paralegal can only work for attorneys, we cannot be hired by individuals.
Can I hire a paralegal to help me with some paperwork?
No. Paralegals are only able to work for attorneys, they are not able to assist individuals with legal matters. A Legal Document Assistant may, however, be able to provide you with limited assistance.
I hired someone claiming to be a paralegal to help with paperwork, and they screwed it up. Now what do I do?
Unfortunately, the person you hired was probably not a paralegal – and they were acting outside of the scope of a paralegal’s duties. There is little recourse in this situation. We recommend you file a complaint with your local District Attorney’s office and the California State Bar. SVPA is not a regulatory body and cannot discipline paralegals or other individuals claiming to be paralegals.
Can SVPA or one of SVPA’s member paralegals help with my case?
No. California law does not allow paralegals to take on cases. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney.
Can SVPA refer me to an attorney?
No, SVPA cannot recommend attorneys to help with your case. Please consult your phone book or local bar association.
Can SVPA help me find a job?
SVPA cannot directly assist with job placement; however, we do post available jobs here. Additionally, by networking with paralegals at SVPA events, you may learn about an unlisted job opportunity – many firms prefer to hire by word-of-mouth only.
How often does SVPA meet?
The SVPA Board of Directors meets once a month to plan SVPA activities and conduct general business. Members are welcome to attend Board meetings. SVPA also hosts a once a month luncheon, featuring speakers on various MCLE topics. SVPA also hosts several events throughout the year, including a celebration of paralegal day and annual holiday party.
With what other associations is SVPA affiliated?
SVPA is also affiliated with the California Alliance of Paralegal Associations (CAPA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Membership in SVPA also includes membership in both of these organizations.
What are the benefits of SVPA membership?
For students and paralegals, SVPA membership comes with many benefits, including:
- Free or reduced-cost admission to MCLE luncheons;
- Job announcements via email;
- Membership in the California Alliance of Paralegal Associations and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations;
- Member benefits from CAPA and NFPA;
- A bi-monthly newsletter, The Journal, with informative articles and updates on SVPA events;
- Access to a wide network of paralegals working in many fields;
- Access to a nationwide network of paralegals, working in many fields; and
- Numerous opportunities to learn from and with other paralegals.
For vendors, membership also includes free and discounted advertising, event sponsorship opportunities, and more.
Are membership fees prorated?
Unfortunately SVPA is unable to prorate membership fees.
Is there a discount rate for students?
Yes. The current student membership fee is $40.
How do I join SVPA?
Please see the application page for information on how to join SVPA.
I’m a member, but I haven’t been receiving SVPA emails. What gives?
If you are not receiving emails, we most likely do not have your correct email address. To correct the error, send our membership vice president an email from the email address you would like us to use to correspond with you.